Alaska effort would create transportation fund

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Thursday, April 05, 2012

As states prepare for the likelihood that the federal government cannot be counted on to help get needed road and bridge work done, an effort nearing completion at the Alaska statehouse would help ensure that more money is available for transportation projects throughout the state.

The Senate Transportation Committee voted Tuesday, April 3, to advance legislation to amend the Alaska Constitution to create a dedicated transportation fund.

The effort – House Joint Resolution 4 – must clear the Senate Finance Committee before it can go before the full Senate. If approved there by a two-thirds margin, it would head to the governor. House lawmakers already approved the measure on a 27-9 vote.

Voters would get the final say on the issue during the upcoming November election because HJR4 would require the state’s constitution to be changed.

House Majority Whip Peggy Wilson, R-Wrangell, said the state needs to start using fees and taxes collected from transportation activities on transportation projects.

The fund would rely on a one-time $1 billion appropriation that must be approved in separate legislation. Also routed to the fund would be half of the transportation-related fees such as Department of Motor Vehicle collections and fuel tax revenue.

“The roads, bridge, airports, ferries and transit systems that make up our state’s transportation system are essential to mobility, commerce and economic development,” Wilson said in a statement. “This system enhances economic competitiveness, increases safety and quality of life.”

To view other legislative activities of interest for Alaska, click here.

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